When playing a game, there are two outcomes: Either you win or you lose. Some finishes can be close, and some are by a landslide. This past weekend, Cal experienced both ends of the spectrum, losing 4-3 in an OT game against Syracuse and winning 8-1 against Central Michigan.
The Bears were quick to show their excitement to be back at home after nearly a month away, when junior forward Megan Rodgers put a goal on the board within the first 30 seconds of the game. This marks Rodgers’ fourth goal and junior midfielder/forward Maddie Cleat’s third assist so far this season. The Bear’s senior midfielder Lindsay Mathison scored soon after, giving Cal a 2-0 lead within the first five minutes. Syracuse freshman forward Charlotte de Vries also snuck her first of three goals in the first quarter.
The tides seemed to shift in the second half. Syracuse managed to keep the ball near Cal’s net, narrowing the distance between shots and scoring two more goals in the third quarter. The Bears’ redshirt senior forward Katrina Carter tied the game in the fourth quarter with her third goal in the last four games, sending the game into overtime.
“Overall it was a really solid game. We had a little bit of a lull in the third quarter that gave them a little more momentum,” said Cal head coach Shellie Onstead. “I think we started off on a high because we were really well prepared and hyped up to be home. We wanted to take advantage of that home-field advantage. It’s always good to get on the board that fast, and it helps create momentum. As I would expect of a team of (Syracuse’s) quality, they were able to kind of even things out as the game went along.”
After an intense back-and-forth in the first period of overtime, de Vries scored her third goal of the game in the second period, collecting her first career hat trick. This is de Vries’ 12th score and sixth game-winning goal this season.
Cal outshot the Orange 10-1 in the first quarter, but by the end of the game, Syracuse came out on top with 17 shots over the Bears’ 15.
“The fact that we tied it that late, it’s becoming a hallmark and that’s a really good sign we do not give up,” Onstead said. “We got our feet back under us and played a really good fourth quarter, even under fatigue. Overtime becomes a game of guts and I thought we played it really well. Sometimes shots like that happen. We’ll learn from this, but I’m really proud of how we fought, and now we’re focused on what’s next.”
In its next game against Central Michigan on Sunday, Cal dominated in almost all aspects of the game. The Bears came out of the gate firing once again, scoring two goals in the first five minutes. In the first half, Rodgers and Carter each scored two goals followed by Cleat’s single score. Central Michigan backfielder Alli Huddleson also managed to get on the scoreboard in the second period, bringing the score to 5-1 Cal. Central Michigan could not overcome Cal’s massive lead, ensuring a victory for the Bears.
A total of six Bears scored throughout the game. Cal senior backfielder Femke Delissen tallied her first goal this season and freshman forward Monica Arteaga scored her first collegiate goal.
The Bears prepare to head back to the East Coast this coming week, starting off with a game against Brown on Thursday at 1 p.m. Their next stop will be New Haven, where they’ll play Sacred Heart University on Friday and Cornell on Sunday. Cornell will be the toughest competitor this weekend — it has a 5-2 record, receiving four of those wins on its home field.